Thursday, February 27, 2014

Milagu Vadas - Black Pepper vadas

Milagu  vadas are very popular prasadam for the Lord Hanuman. They make a garland of this pepper vada and offer it to the god by lots of devotes. Most of the temples in my place do this and there is so much demand to book this.

Before my marriage I used to live in a house that’s just opposite to a big Balaji/Perumal temple (my parents are still living there). We know all the priests there and they are kind of family friends for us. My mom used to book this pooja in the temple at least once in 6 months in India. So after the pooja, they will give you the vadas as prasadam. My husband loves this vada and we always remember to keep some vadas for him before my marriage.

After I moved here after my marriage, I wanted to do the same pooja in the hindu temple here. When I enquired about that in the temple they told me that we have to make the vadas and bring. They also told me that since the pepper vada’s are a little difficult to make, most of them bring garland made of methu vada without onion. So I was also scared to try them and followed their instruction and made the regular medhu vadas.

Then after some time I thought of trying out the traditional pepper vadas. So I got the recipe and made them for my next pooja in the temple. Everyone in the temple, who tasted the vada, was excited and surprised. I felt so happy when some of them even asked for the recipe and noted it down.

Since my husband loves it, I make them as a snack sometimes.  Even though it might look little complicated, all it needs is time and patience. It becomes easier with practice J



Yields approximately 20
1 and ½ cup of Urad dal
1 tablespoon pepper
Approximately ½ teaspoon salt
(adjust the salt according to your taste, I just gave the measurement I use normally)
Oil for deep frying

Wash and soak the dal for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the water and keep the dal aside for another 30 minutes.

Then grind the dal along with the pepper in a grinder or blender without adding any water. Just grind them for about 15 minutes so that they are coarse. Make sure that you don’t add more than 2 tablespoon of water while grinding, add even that 2 tablespoon of water only if it is absolutely needed.
The vada dough has to be really thick and coarse.

Heat the oil for frying in a pan. You can check the correct temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil and make sure it rises and floats on the top immediately. Once the oil is ready add the salt to the batter and mix them well.

Take ziplog bag/banana leaf/washed wet cloth and grease them with oil. Now one small size of a lime of batter and flatten them into a thin disc using your fingers and make a hole in the center. Gently lift them and slip them into the hot oil.

Take them out of the oil when they are just half fried and keep them aside. Continue the same with the remaining of the batter and keep them all aside.

Now take 5 to 6 vadas (half fried) and fry them again in the oil until they turn golden brown in color. The pepper vadas are really crispy. You can store them in an air tight container for a week.

I am sending this dish to the "Flavor up with Spices #1 - A Monthly Event" hosted by Ammaji Kitchen.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sakkarai Pongal - Sweet Pongal

In all the South Indian states, Sakkarai pongal is one of the popular dishes. Sakkarai pongal is generally prepared in temples and home as a prasadam, an offering made to god. This is pongal is the star of the “Pongal or Maha sankranti” festival.

The name Pongal is originated from the word “pongu” which means “boil” or “spill over”. Traditionally it is made using an earthenware pot, but it can also be made using regular stainless pots or a pressure cooker.

Even though I love sakkarai pongal, I only make them during special occasions as prasadam, such as “Pongal (or) Maha sankranti”, “Tamil New year”, “Ganesh Chathurthi”  and “Janmastami”. Apart from these days I sometimes make it when I visit the temple and distribute them to everyone in the temple.  So this time I made the sakkarai pongal along with some pepper vada or Milagu vada for a pooja during my last visit to the temple and everyone in the temple loved them. I will post the recipe for the Pepper vada also soon.



2 cups Raw Rice
1 cup Yellow Moong dal
250 grams of jaggery
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup of ghee or clarified butter
2 tablespoon cardamom powder
¼ cup of broken cashew nuts
2 tablespoon golden raisins
8 cups of water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of dry ginger powder or sukku powder

Grate or powder the jaggery and keep it aside. In a small pan add ¼ cup of ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins until they turn golden.

Wash the rice and the dal together and soak them for around 15 minutes. In a large pot take 7 cups of water and let it come to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling vigorously add the soaked rice and dal. Cook the rice and dal until they are soft and the water is completely absorbed on a medium flame.

Alternatively you can cook them using a pressure cooker instead of the pot. Just add 7 cups of water to the soaked rice and dal in a pressure cooker. Cook for 4 to 5 whistles. And let the steam cool down completely before you open the pressure cooker.

Meanwhile in a separate sauce pan, boil together one cup of water and the powdered or grated jaggery and make thick syrup. When the syrup comes to a boil switch off the flame. This usually takes around 10 minutes on medium flame. There is no string consistency or anything needed for this syrup, just bring them to a boil.

Now add this sugar syrup into the rice after filtering it to remove any impurities in the jaggery. Keep the stove on a low flame and mix the rice and the jaggery. While doing this you can mash the rice with the back of the spoon and keep stirring it for the rice to absorb the jaggery syrup uniformly.

Now add the remaining ¼ cup of ghee, pinch of salt, pinch of dry ginger powder and the sugar to the rice. Again stir them all together until they are mixed well. Let it cook for another 5 minutes on low flame. The sugar added, gives a glossy look to the pongal and also enhances the taste.

After cooking for the 5 minutes, add the fried cashew nuts, raisins along with the ghee used for frying them and the cardamom powder. Switch off the flame and serve hot or cold.

 -- Sang V

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kumbakonnam Kadappa - Potato & Moong Dal curry

It was my dad who introduced me to Kadappa. Whenever I make Idiyappam, he used to tell about this wonderful dish that they used to serve with Idiyappam in Kumbakonnam/Thanjavur. I had wanted to try this dish for a long time.

Then finally one day, when we had a potluck party one of my friend made this and served along with Idlies. It was simply delicious and so light. It was a good change from the usual sambhar and chutneys we serve with idlies.

After tasting it once I wanted very much to try it at home. So the next time I made Idlies, I served it along with Kadappa and my family loved it. Since both my son and husband need Idlies and Dosas to be included in their meal as often as possible. It is always a big challenge for me to come up with a variety of healthy side dishes. I would definitely recommend this as one among the healthy and tasty side dish for Idlies and dosas.

It also pairs well with soft idiyappams, and you can serve them instead of the regular stew. I am sending this recipe for the “In my VEG BOX ~ Potatoes” by and guest hosted by givemesomespice

You can Click Here for further details about this wonderful event. Thank you Mina for guest hosting this wonderful event!!!!!



1/4 cup yellow Moong dal
2 Potatoes
1 cup chopped Onion
2 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoon chopped Coriander leaves
1 teaspoon Salt (or as per taste)
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
2 tablespoon chopped Curry leaves
1 small piece Cinnamon
3 small cloves
1 Bay leaf
2 tablespoon Oil

Grind together:
1/2 cup Grated Coconut
1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds/sombu
2 flakes Garlic
2 Green chilies
1 tablespoon roasted channa dal/pottukadalai

Pressure cook the moong dal along with required water for 3 whistles. Wash and pressure cook potato separately for 2-3 whistles until they are soft. The cooking time for the potatoes depends on the size and variety of the potato. Make sure the potatoes are cooked completely so that they are really soft and easy to mash.

Mash the cooked Moong dal and keep it aside. Peel the skin of the potatoes and mash them roughly. Now add the ingredients listed under “Grind Together” in a blender/mixer and grind them into a smooth paste.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and the curry leaves. Let them splutter. Then add the chopped onions and salt and fry them until they turn slightly brown. Now add the ground paste and cook them until the raw smell disappears.

Once the ground paste is cooked add the mashed moong dal and potatoes. Add a cup of water (you can add the water according to the desired consistency) and close the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Switch off the flame. Then add the chopped coriander leaves and the lemon juice.

Serve hot with Idlies/Dosas/Idiyappams.

-- Sang V

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thai Pepper Chicken

We are a big fan of Thai Food. If we plan to go to a restaurant then our first choice would be a good Thai Restaurant. For us the flavors of any Thai food are simple and awesome. And I should not forget to mention about the “Sticky/Jasmine Rice”, which really adds extra flavor to their dishes.

My pantry is always filled up with Jasmine rice, Soy sauce, Fish sauce, Chili sauce, rice vinegar – the basic ingredients you need to make a simple Thai recipe. When I plan to make Red curry I get the necessary ingredients as needed. But there are so many different recipes you can make with just the basic ingredients.

Since I make them often, I hope that I can share as many recipes as possible. They are really easy to make and so I love making them on a weekday morning to pack them for lunch. Today I made the “Pepper chicken” with Jasmine or sticky rice on the side.



1 pound chicken breast
Half red bell pepper
Half yellow bell pepper
Half orange bell pepper
1 medium or half big red onion
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoon pepper powder
½ a teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sesame/vegetable oil

Wash the bell peppers and wipe them clean. Slice then into thin strips. Also slice the onions and keep them aside.

Wash and cut the chicken into thin bite sized strips. Marinate the chicken with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and rice for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oil in a wok or a pan. When the oil is really hot then add the marinated chicken and sauté them for about 5 minutes.

Now add the salt, sliced onions and the bell peppers and stir them. Cook them on medium flame for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. The cooking time depends on the size of the chicken strips. When the chicken is cooked completely, add the pepper powder and the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and mix everything well until all the chicken and the vegetables are coated with the pepper. Adjust the pepper powder according to your spice level.

Switch off the flame and serve with sticky rice or Brown rice or Basmati rice.

-- Sang V 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Karela / Bitter Gourd Stir –Fry

This is one of my favorite vegetable from childhood. As a child I was really picky especially with my vegetables and fruits. Only after my college days I really started eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Even then bitter gourd used to be one of my favorite vegetable. People used to get surprised when they look at me happily eating this vegetable. I love the slight bitterness and the overall flavor of this.

My mom used to cook bitter gourd often, because I was a vegetarian during those days and whenever my mom makes non-vegetarian dishes she will make this for me. I love this vegetable especially with yogurt rice. It tastes so good. There are a lot of ways you can prepare bitter gourd.  The simple “Stir-Fry” is one of the methods and it is really simple to make.

My husband loves this stir-fry with Rotis. So I make them for our weekend lunch with Rotis, as it takes a little extra time to get the crispiness.

Bitter gourd is believed to have a lot of medicinal properties. They are believed to be beneficial for treating blood disorders. They are also believed to lower the sugar levels in blood and urine. They also are said to help in cleaning up toxic blood, improving blood circulation and cure hang overs.

There are a lot of medicinal values listed for this vegetable. So if you are not a big fan for this vegetable till now, try this recipe and taste them. Who know you might start liking them J



1 pound bitter gourd
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder/sambhar powder
1 teaspoon pepper powder

Wash the bitter gourds thoroughly and remove both the ends. Now slice them evenly as thin as possible, so that it gets cooked uniformly throughout. Remove the seeds and soak them in a bowl of water along with some salt. Let them soak for about 10 minutes.
Now remove them from the salted water and keep it aside.

Meanwhile add the oil in a pan and heat the oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and a pinch of hing. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the bitter gourd. Sauté them for about 3 minutes, after that reduce the flame and add the salt, turmeric and the curry/sambhar powder.

Now close the pan with the lid and let it cook for about 15 minutes on low flame. Then remove the lid and increase the flame to medium stirring at regular intervals. Cook until they turn crispy and add the pepper powder then switch off the flame.
The cooking time depends on the desired crispiness, water content in the bitter gourd and the thickness of the slices. For me it takes 15 minutes of covered cooking in  low flame and 20 minutes of cooking it with the lid removed on medium flame.

Serve this as a side dish for rice or roti and enjoy.

-- Sang V

Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Today is Valentine’s Day and Love is in the air everywhere. When I went to grocery shopping yesterday after his swimming lesson, all I wanted to buy was some tomatoes as I ran out of tomatoes. So I thought I will make a quick stop and get them.

But then when we entered the store, we saw that everyone were buying flowers, chocolate covered strawberries, special valentine day treats….  Then we were also tempted to do something for Valentine ’s Day. I got my son a cute “puppy” soft toy holding a heart-shaped chocolate box. And he said he is going to make the best card ever…awwwwwwww

Then we were thinking what should we buy for my husband, I don’t want to buy those chocolate boxes for him and I wanted to give something made especially for him. So I started shopping for cute little Valentine ’s Day themed cupcake liners, sprinkles. There I was standing in the store and thinking what kind of cupcake will go along with the theme.  What other than the “Red-Velvet” cupcakes will be more suitable for this day?

I had almost everything I needed for the cake in my pantry except for the sour cream and the cream cheese. So I grabbed them quickly in the store and came home. Since my husband was out for a Business dinner we wanted to surprise him with the cupcakes. We fixed ourselves a quick dinner and started making the cupcakes around 9 0 clock. After I made the cupcakes I let them cool down completely while I put my son to sleep and then started frosting the cupcakes. It is such a simple recipe and will definitely make a great “Valentine Treat”.

I am sending this recipe for the "Kid's Delight - Baked Treats for Kids" event hosted this time by "Seduce your Taste Buds" here. This event is originally hosted by Spicing your life blog, please take a look here for further details. This is such a nice event and all the themes are just so cool and definitely will help a lot of us, parents.


Red – Velvet cupcakes:


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
Few drops of the Red Food Color
2 and 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line the muffin trays with the cupcake liners.

Mix the dry ingredients flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. 

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Now check for the color of the batter and if needed add few drops of extra food color. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over beat. Spoon batter into the muffin tray by filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then remove them from pans and cool completely.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 (16 ounce) pack of confectioners' sugar
(3 and ¾ cup of confectioner’s sugar)

Beat softened cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream and the Vanilla Extract in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Once the frosting is ready and the cupcakes are cooled down. Then frost them with the cream cheese frosting and decorate them with some sprinkles. You can even place some fresh cherries on top and give them a beautiful touch.

-- Sang V

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Semiya Kesari - Vermicelli Halwa

Semiya Kesari/Vermicelli Halwa is one of the sweets that not everyone knows about. When I make it for some guests or for some potluck parties, I had seen people get surprised. But trust me it’s just a “Sweet Surprise”, because this kesari taste so good and is such a treat for the eyes too.

This recipe takes less time and effort compared to Rava Kesari, especially if you have the “Roasted Vermicelli” packet. I always buy and store the Bambino – Roasted Vermicelli packet as it helps me with quick dinner, breakfast or sweet. This recipe calls for less sugar and ghee, but is so rich in taste.

Last week when I was getting ready to go for one my friend’s house, I offered to bring some dessert. Since it was a last minute plan, she asked me to make something very simple. Immediately I thought of making semiya kesari and since I had some left over pineapple slices. I thought I will make Pineapple Semiya Kesariand here is the recipeJ



2 cups Roasted vermicelli/Semiya
1 and ½ cup of sugar
2 and ½ cup of water
2 tablespoon ghee
1 cup pineapple chunks (cut into bite size pieces)
2 tablespoon cashews
tablespoon raisins
3 cardamom pods crushed
Pinch of yellow/orange food color

If you don’t have roasted semiya, then take extra 1 tablespoon ghee (to the measurement given above) and roast the plain semiya until they turn golden, otherwise skip this step and start from the next step.

Take a heavy bottom/non-stick pan and add 1 tablespoon ghee and roast the cashews and raisins until they turn golden. Then remove them from the pan and add the pineapple chunks and roast them for about 2 minutes.

Once the pineapple pieces are also roasted remove them from the pan. Now add the water and let it come to a boil, then add the semiya and cook until all the water is absorbed. Add the sugar and the food color and keep stirring at regular intervals.

When the kesari starts leaving the sides of the pan and looks glossy/shiny, add the remaining one tablespoon of ghee, the pineapple chunks, cashews, raisins and the crushed cardamom powder. Mix them well and remove from the flame.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

This is really a very very easy and tasty recipe. So the next time you want to fix a quick dessert just make this “Semiya Kesari” then you will know what I meanJ

Also the pineapple chunks are just optional and you can make this without pineapple.

-- Sang V 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Puliodharai - Tamarind rice

The tangy, spicy Puliodharai is a special meal. It reminds me of the long travels, school day lunch boxes, temple prashadham , all my sister’s pregnancy J………

I could proudly say that my mom makes the best puliodharai I have ever tasted. There were lots of fans for her puliodharai among my friends and my sister’s friends. I used to pester my mom so much to make me puliodharai atleast once a week. I will finish my lunch and come home and still ask her to give me puliodharai for dinner. And my son is just like me. He loves Puliodharai and is very happy if I pack it for lunch.

Puliodharai taste the best when it is served a few hours after it is made.  So when you are thinking of packing some food for the next trip/travel make sure you pack puliodharai. You can just eat it plain or with some chips and it makes an awesome meal.

Puliodharai is also served as prashadh in lot of temples in Chennai. In the temples they used to distribute the rice in the disposable bowls made of leaves (we call it as “Dhonnai”). Also whenever we have some pooja at home puliodharai is one of the food always served to guests.

So when I saw the event announcement for cooking a main dish in the "Cook Click n devour' site here. I wanted to send this recipe for the event. 


It is very simple to make them at home. Just give it a try and let me knowJ


For the paste/Pulikachal:
½ cup of Tamarind
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sesame/gingelly oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 dried red chilies
A handful of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for at least 15 minutes. Then squeeze out the thick pulp and keep aside. In a pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, once the seeds start to splutter add the curry leaves and the red chilies. Then add the tamarind pulp, salt, hing and turmeric powder. Cook this until the raw of smell of the tamarind disappears and the oil starts separating. Let the paste cool and you can store the paste for a week if refrigerated. This way you can make the tamarind paste/pulikachal when you find time and use it during the week days for making puliodharai.
The smell of the paste when it is getting cooked is so good, that you will start drooling automatically.

For spice mix/powder:
2 tablespoon channa dhal
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Methi/fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
6 dried red chilies
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Dry roast all the ingredients listed above separately in a pan until the raw smell disappears. Let them cool down completely then grind into a coarse powder using a spice grinder or an Indian Mixie. Store the spice powder in an air tight container for up to a month. This spice powder can be used in a variety of other recipes too. So I usually double the ingredients and make the powder. It comes handy for a lot of recipesJ

Making Tamarind rice
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water

For tempering:
1 tablespoon Sesame/Gingelly oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 dried red chilies
¼ cup Peanuts
2 tablespoon channa dhal

Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Then cook the rice along with the water. Once the rice is cooked, transfer the rice into a big plate/tray and let it cool. Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the oil for tempering. Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and hing. Then add the peanuts and roast them for another 2 minutes. Now add the channa dhal and roast them until they turn golden. Remove from the flame and let it cool.
Once the rice and tempering comes to the room temperature, add the tempering to the rice along with the pulikachal/tamarind paste. Also add 1 teaspoon of the spice mix/powder and mix them all together gently without breaking the rice. You can taste the rice at this stage and add more salt or the spice powder accordingly if needed. Now pack them or serve them along with some fried pappad/chips and enjoy.

There are days when my son suddenly gets a craving for tamarind rice and asks me to pack it for the next day’s lunch. Usually on those occasions I wake up in the morning and make the Pulikachal, Spice powder and then make the tamarind rice. Even though it looks a bit time consuming, it doesn’t take much time or effort. 

-- Sang V

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kara Sev - Spicy Sev

As I have already mentioned in my family we love everything when it is home made from scratch. The only reason I want to make my family eat as much as home cooked food is due to the simple ingredients used. You could see a long list of ingredients in the back of any store brought snack and I lose interest in buying them.
It’s always better to try and make snacks at home, because this way you know what you are eating.  Karasev is one such easy snack recipe which you can make in no time. You can make it as an appetizer for a party or as a tea time snack for the guests/family.
Karasev are traditionally made using a special Grater called Karasev Kattai. But since I don’t own one, I used the regular murukku press with the “Three Hole” plate as shown in the picture.

1 cup Rice flour
(I used store brought)
1 cup of Gram flour /Besan
2 Teaspoon Clarified butter/Ghee
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
(substitute with pepper powder)
Oil for frying
Mix the rice flour, gram flour, salt, pepper and ghee together in a bowl. Add about 3/4th to 1 cup of water little by little and make this into stiff dough. Now take the Murukku press and grease it with a little oil. This helps in the easy cleaning of the press.
Now take oil in a wide mouthed pan and heat them on medium flame.  Check the temperature of the oil by dropping a small piece of the dough. If they rise to the surface immediately then the oil is hot enough for frying. Now press the dough directly into the oil. Fry them until they turn golden and also stir them in between for uniform browning.  Once they are cooked remove them from the oil and drain them.
Cool them for some time before storing them in an air-tight container. Crunchy karasev is now ready and you could enjoy them for as long as two weeks and they stay fresh in an air tight container.

You could make them as a big batch during festival times and share it with your friends and family .
Okay !!!! now it’s the time for me to have a cup of hot tea and a bowl of Karasev J
-- Sang V

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Indo-Chinese Fried Rice

Fried rice brings me back the memories of my school day, when the roadside Fast food joints started getting popular. I have not seen anyone who wouldn’t like good fried rice.
I was in my 10th grade and one of my best friend’s brother-in-law used to own a fast food joint. So whenever we visit his house (which was fortunately a 5 minute walk from my house) he used to make the fried rice for us. We used to help him by cutting the vegetables and also we would be cleaning up and doing the dishes after we eat. But I could still remember the big woks he used and how efficiently he used to toss the rice around instead of stirring the rice. Then we would be happily hogging the fried rice which would be accompanied by either “Gobi Manchurian” or “Gobi 65” J
After they moved away, we used to miss his fried rice that we got to eat so often. Then we tried eating them outside just to satisfy our cravings. But sometimes when you eat outside they are literally drenched in oil and I didn’t like them that much. So I tried making them at home and it came out exactly the way we like it. Those days it was hard to find “Soy” sauce and white pepper in regular grocery stores. So my mom would go to the departmental store a little far from our place and get them for me.
This dish is also a kid’s favorite. You can sneak in the vegetables and they would happily be eating it with no complaints. It is a good lunch box recipe and stays fresh until your lunch time and this is one of my son’s and husband’s favorite lunch menus.
Also when we invite guests over this would make a great “Rice” dish and can be accompanied with almost anything. I have noticed that a lot of people love just eating them with tomato ketchupJ

2 cup cooked rice (white basmati Rice)
1 cup shredded/thinly sliced cabbage
½ cup julienned carrots (carrots cut into long thin strips)
½ cup finely chopped spring onions
1 tablespoon “Soy” sauce (usually the dark variety)
½ teaspoon Rice vinegar (you can substitute with white vinegar also)
2 teaspoon white pepper powder
½ teaspoon black pepper powder (optional)
1 tablespoon Sesame oil or Vegetable oil
Some people also add thinly sliced bell peppers (capsicums). But I usually don’t add them in this kind of fried rice as I want the flavor to be mild.
Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Then cook the rice according to the directions or the way you usually cook (stove top or rice cooker).  For 1 cup of rice I add 1 and ½ cup of water in a pan and bring it to a boil on the stove top. When it starts boiling, I cover it with a lid and simmer it until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked completely. Then gently fluff the rice with a fork while it is still hot to separate the grains. Make sure that you don’t break the rice in the process. Now let the rice cool completely, for better taste make the rice a day ahead and refrigerate.
Heat the oil in a big wok or a wide pan. When the oil is hot enough add the veggies and stir fry them. After the vegetables are almost cooked, add the rice, vinegar, soy sauce and the white pepper powder. Mix them all well and stir fry them for another 5 minutes, add the black pepper powder (optional) and remove from the plate. Garnish with some finely chopped spring onions and serve them.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mutton tomato curry (With no oil)

Personally this is one of my favorite mutton dishes to cook. It is such an easy recipe which can be cooked in no time and less effort. But still looks and taste amazing.

The days I am making an elaborate dinner for guests or on week nights when I want to whip up something really quick for us, I go for this recipe.

It had never failed to impress the guests or my family. Recently when we had our friends I made this dish again and they loved it. In spite of no oil added this dish comes out with rich flavors. 



1 pound mutton (approximately 450g)
1 pound tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves or 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoon black pepper powder
6 large cloves of peeled garlic
1 big piece of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of water
½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Wash the tomatoes and mark a plus at the bottom of each tomato. Take big pan and add water enough for the tomatoes to immerse. Bring the water to boil and now slowly add the tomatoes one by one and cook it on a medium flame until the skin starts to split and peel off. This might take approximately 10 minutes of cooking the tomatoes.

Now remove the tomatoes and cool them under running water. This will help to us remove the skin easily. Remove the skin and the seeds from the tomatoes. Now puree the tomatoes in a blender without adding any water. Make sure that there are no lumps in the tomato puree.

Now make a paste of ginger, garlic and all the other spices mentioned above. Add this mixture to the tomato puree and whisk well so that they are completely blender. Now in a pressure cooker add the mutton and the tomato mixture and the 1 cup of water. Mix them well. Cover and cook this mixture for 6 whistles. Then switch off the stove and let the steam cool down. Garnish the mutton curry with some chopped coriander leaves and serve hot. This curry will be thin gravy and it goes well with Roti, Naan, Idli and Dosas.

With absolutely no oil added, it taste so awesome and you could still see the fat from the mutton oozing out of the gravyJ

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gulab Jamun - Milk dumplings soaked in the sugar syrup

We are allowed to indulge ourselves once in a while right?  Okay, then today is our turn J I made some yummy “Gulab Jamuns” for us and I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Gulab jamuns are the most popular dessert of our country. Those soft dumplings soaked in the sugar syrup would make anyone crave for more.

This is one of the most common desserts made during festivals and major occasions. It’s very easy to make these gulab jamuns from scratch. Traditionally they are made using khoya(resembles unsweetened paneer).  But it can also be made using the non-fat dry milk instead of the khoya. Since the availability and storage of the non-fat dry milk is easier for me, I make them using milk powder instead of khoya.

I love this recipe, as I can adjust the quantity and make them for either a small or a big crowd.You can make this yummy dessert when you have guests over and impress them.

They are a real treat for both our eyes and tongue: 0)



Makes  10 medium sized jamuns

3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ghee
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon +1 teaspoon yogurt
oil for deep frying

For the sugar syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
few strands of saffron (Optional)

Combine the dry milk, flour, baking soda and ghee together and start crumbling with your fingers. Then add the Yogurt little by little and start to knead. The dough should be soft but not too sticky so just add enough yogurt to make the dough, don't add all at once. Cover it with a wet cloth or tissue and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile boil the sugar and water together to make thin sugar syrup. They should be a little sticky.

Heat oil in a frying pan. When you fry the jamuns, the temperature of the oil is very important. If the oil is too hot then it would cause uneven cooking and if it is not hot enough then they wouldn’t turn up golden in color. So to check if the temperature of the oil, just drop a pinch of the dough into the oil. If the dough stays down in the oil with bubbles before rising to the top of the oil then you can start frying the jamuns at medium to low flame. While frying the jamuns make sure to keep stirring the oil with a spoon continuously without breaking the jamuns as that would ensure even coloring. Once they turn golden remove the jamuns from the oil and drain them on a paper towel. Then add the Jamuns to the hot sugar syrup and close the syrup with a lid. Keep this on a medium flame for 5 minutes. Then switch off the flame and let it soak for at least an hour before serving. You can serve them at room temperature or slightly warm them before serving.

-- Sang V